Photo by Wesley Ng
Photo by Wesley Ng

Despite being an opening act, it can be argued that Rick Ross is perhaps the biggest name—no pun intended—that ASPB has brought to UCR, considering an artist’s current relevance and appeal. He lives on MTV and controversy surrounds him like an entourage. His life is a Godfather picture, remember? And although there was a whole Facebook campaign to protest his visit, when Rozay hit the stage, he was welcomed by a crowd that would make graduation ceremonies jealous.

With really no way to go wrong, Ross started his set strong. Songs like his OG hit, “Hustlin’,” and even his guest verse on Ace Hood’s “Hustle Hard (Remix)” (see a theme going?) were devoured like candy by the crowd. Although significantly slimmer, his figure was immediately noticeable with his bright green hat and green shirt which quickly became damper after every song. Worth mentioning was his jewelry, which made him look like he was competing with Sir 2 Chainz. It was this figure, imminent on stage, that served as a great visual backdrop for songs that followed, including Ace Hood’s “Bugatti,” Rihanna’s “Pour It Up (Remix),” French Montana’s “Pop That,” DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” and “I’m On One.” Simply performing his guest verses on these songs was enough to satisfy the crowd while reminding them that within about seven years, Ross boasts a catalogue that already borders legendary status.

It was a peculiar sight watching a sea of college students rocking back and forth to music that asks if we’ve ever made love to a woman out in London. Nevertheless, Ross did not necessarily remain in that motif of fast living for the entirety of his set. “Diced Pineapples,” “Here I Am,” “Magnificent” and “Take It To The Head” offered an opportunity for introspection that was coated in R&B hooks and sentiment. To finish off with the same momentum as his introduction, Ross then reintroduced more street anthems such as “Stay Schemin.” He also kept the region in mind by using Tupac’s “California Love” as a segue to Meek Mill’s “Tupac Back.”

The lengthy set, worthy of a headliner playlist, was sufficient in preparing the audience for what was next while finishing early enough to ensure that Rozay could attend the Mayweather fight in Las Vegas just hours later––and you thought you had good after party plans.